Sustainability at the Market: Abby Lee Farms

Producing over 35,000 pounds a week, it is no wonder Abby Lee Farms is famous for their delicious tomatoes. Their products can be found at ten farmers markets around the valley and in almost every premium grocery store. However, most people are unaware of the growing techniques and sustainability initiatives the farmers at Abby Lee take part in.

Abby Lee Farms is a hydroponic grower. This means that rather than growing their produce outside in the soil, they instead monitor them in a controlled greenhouse environment. By doing this, they are able to reuse almost all of the water instead of it absorbing in the soil. Nutrients are sent to the plants several times a day using a specialized drip system.  Another sustainable technique they use is controlling the climate in their greenhouse. This ensures that they keep the ideal humidity and temperature needed for the tomatoes to grow.

The tomatoes produced at Abby Lee farms are shipped out to consumers the same day they are picked, which is why they call themselves “hyperlocal.” The tomatoes are picked at peak harvest times at the height of their ripeness. This is nearly three weeks later than other commercial growers. Unlike most of modern day produce, Abby Lee’s products are not shipped across the country. They stay local from the time they are picked to the time they are purchased. Is your mouth watering yet? Come by the market this Saturday to get your hands on these delicious tomatoes.

-Sydney Schutkowski, Sustainability Intern

Free Workshop: An Introduction to Backyard Beekeeping

dd34959bfac4279b0f1ad800a9df2515-copyThis weekend.. Join us for a FREE Workshop startng at 9am.  An Introduction to Backyard Beekeeping:  Intended for those who are new to beekeeping, this class will go over the basic requirements to start your own backyard hive.  We will go over local rules and regulations, initial cost and setup, safety measures, and basic maintenance.

Read the full story »

Sustainability at the Market: Maya’s Farm

mayas-farmDid you know that by 2050, the world will need to feed two billion more people than it does today? With the increasing concern over climate change, natural resource scarcity, world hunger, and shrinking biodiversity, it is crucial that farmers adapt sustainable agriculture practices. Sustainable agriculture may seem like a difficult concept to grasp at first glance but  the idea behind it is relatively simple. Sustainability is meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future. Therefore, sustainable farming aims to use mindful farming techniques that do not disrupt the environment.

Last Saturday at the market, I had the opportunity to talk with Maya Dailey about what environmentally friendly strategies she uses at her farm, Maya’s Farm. Her farm is located on an ancient riverbed near South Mountain Park right here in Phoenix. Because the crops sit on naturally sandy soil and are located near Artesian wells, Maya’s Farm is in the prefect environment to foster a sustainable farm system. She uses just the amount of water needed to produce naturally crisp and delicious crops and uses a drip tape irrigation system to ensure no water goes unused. This system delivers water straight the the base of the plant and forfeits the traditional sprinkler system.

 Maya’s Farm produces only certified organic crops. This means her crops contain no toxic pesticides, dyes, or chemical fertilizers. As a result, the farm fosters biodiversity and the preservation of natural resources. To minimize her carbon footprint, Maya implements recycling and composting techniques to create a zero-waste environment. In addition, her small independent farm uses no large scale machinery. This not only significantly minimizes pollution, but also prevents the concept of an assembly line approach to farming. With no mass production, each crop is carefully looked after from the time the seed is planted to the moment it is purchased.

Knowing the measures Maya takes to ensure the environmental preservation of her farm makes me proud to purchase her produce. Remember to support all of the local, sustainable farmers every Saturday at the market.

-Sydney Schutkowski, Sustainability Intern

What’s In Season: Fall

screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-3-29-26-pmClick the image above to read more about seasonal produce, local restaurants, and delicious recipes from Edible Phoenix.

Workshop: Harvesting Carob

is-carob-paleo
Join us this Saturday, October 22nd at 9am for this free workshop.
Andrew ‘Green Man’ Pisher, is certified in Urban Farming and continually studying Nutrition in order to teach anyone to grow and connect with the right plants for their health and well-being.
In Saturday’s workshop, Green Man will talk about the potential in foraging for a certain super food that grows very well here in the desert. There is a tree that grows a delicious bean that is packed with high levels of essential vitamins, minerals and especially healthy fiber and fats. This tree originally from the Mediterranean area of the world and has been an important food source for humans since the days of the Egyptians. The Carob tree, or Locust Bean tree is not well known in the United States due to the fact that this lovely shade tree only grows in certain climates where temperatures rarely reach below 42 degrees.
Let Green Man show you how to identify the Carob tree so you can find one in your neighborhood. He will teach you how to harvest the pods, remove the seeds and turn into a powder form that you can use in many ways, including: in breads, on oatmeal, in shakes, baked goods, as a chocolate flavor substitute (without added sugar), on cereal and other uses.
Register here for this FREE workshop so we know you will be attending.

Crop of the Week: Okra

roasted-okra
Okra is found in it’s wild state on the alluvial banks of the
Nile and the Egyptians were the first to cultivate it in the basin of the Nile
(12’th century BC). It was propagated then through North Africa to the
Mediterranean and arrived then in the Americas at
Brazil (1658), Dutch Guinea and at New Orleans before extending in the
United States.

Grow Your Garden

Getting ready to grow?  We turn to the Urban Farmer Garden Planting Guide.

39d3eb7cece1f061d94f2bad86990918

Pichuberry Recipe

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 3.18.53 PM

While these berries may look small, they boast great nutritional value.  A great source of vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin P, and the B-complex vitamins B1, B6, and B12. By eating only 3 ounces of this power fruit, you’ll meet 37 percent of your daily required vitamin A, 13 percent of your required niacin, 18 percent of your recommended vitamin C, and 39 percent of your vitamin D requirement. .

Pichuberries grow inside husks that assimilate small lanterns, as tomatillos do. Native to Peru, the Pichuberry is being grown here in Arizona.  In fact, the company is in collaboration with the University of Arizona, doing research on the crop.  Pichuberries are great in a variety of recipes from sweet to savory.  In fact, you may have already enjoyed Los Muertos Pichuberry Salsa or Iconic Cocktail’s Pichuberry mixer.

Carolina shares one of her favorite dinner recipes using this superfood.  Say hi to her Saturdays at the market and discover more recipes she’s cooking up at home.

“Read More” for Carolina’s Quinoa Salad Recipe

17ab81505cc930224fdbed4dade38205

Read the full story »

Crop of the Week: Okra

Hip_Veggies

We love this image Hip Veggies (Monika Woolsey) captured.

 

  1. Okra is a member of the Mallow family, related to cotton, hibiscus and hollyhock.

2. In other parts of the world, this functional vegetable is also known as gumbo or lady fingers.

3. The pods, when cut, exude a mucilaginous juice that is used to thicken stews (like gumbo), and have a flavor somewhat like a cross between asparagus and eggplant.

4. Okra probably originated somewhere around Ethiopia, and was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians by the 12th century B.C.

5. Okra seeds have been toasted, ground and used a coffee substitute for centuries.

Read the full story »

The Importance of Bees

Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 4.30.45 PM
  • Honey bees are accurately described as indispensable pollinators.  In the United States it is estimated that managed honey bee colonies are annually responsible for the pollination of agricultural crops valued between $4 and $8 billion.
  • Bees that are about 21 days old, begin to take short orientation flights, marking the beginning of a 2 to 3 week life as a forager bee, seeking nectar and pollen to bring back to the colony.
  •  While a worker bee is in a flower gathering nectar, pollen often sticks to her hairy body. Because the bee generally visits a number of the same type of flower, she will rub some of the pollen off onto another flower and complete pollination
  • During chillier seasons, worker bees can live for nine months. But in the summer, they rarely last longer than six weeks—they literally work themselves to death.
  • When aging bees do jobs usually reserved for younger members, their brain stops aging. In fact, their brain ages in reverse.

Read the full story »